New Delhi, Dec 13 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday said the Juvenile Justice Committee of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has found no substance in the allegations of the illegal detention of children by security forces.
A petition was filed, after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, by child rights activists Enakshi Ganguly and Shanta Sinha alleging detention of children in Jammu and Kashmir. The petitioners had also cited news reports from prominent US based newspapers.
“Should we trust the fact finding conducted by our four judges of the High Court or some report which appeared in Washington newspaper”, said a bench headed by Justice N. V. Ramana and comprising Justices R. Subhash Reddy and B.R. Gavai.
The court, expressing its satisfaction with the High Court report, said the four High Court judges of the Committee had visited all jails and spoken to those concerned and found no children under detention.
“We have perused the report carefully, there is nothing on the illegal detention of the children…we cannot keep the matter pending, and also we cannot allow the review on the report submitted by the judges”, said Justice Ramana in response to Ganguly’s counsel senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, who pressed the argument to examine the High Court report.
Justice Gavai said that the court will not sit over the appeal on the report submitted by the judges of the High Court. “Four judges have made personal visit…..this is not a proceeding, where the petitioner made allegations. You asked for a report and the four judges of the High Court placed actual things before the court”, said Justice Gavai.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Jammu and Kashmir administration, said a petitioner who is based out of Delhi, wants to review the report of the High Court judges.
The court observed that it will give the report if there are individual grievances, and those aggrieved could approach the appropriate authority.
“We are satisfied with the exercise of the four judges”, said Justice Ramana and insisted that the image of the judiciary should not take the beating in these proceedings.
Assuring judiciary’s commitment to address the grievances, the court said: “If there is really something, we have taken care of it. They personally inspected the matter in detail, and we have gone through each and every page of the report”, said the bench insisting the submission of report is not a judicial proceeding.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal replying to appeals of the petitioners to examine the report, said: “The second report from the High Court has come, any lawyer who reads it will find objections, and it will go on. There should be end to this.”
Ahmadi said according to the first report by the Jammu and Kashmir administration had “admittedly detained over 80 children”. The judges on the bench replied according to the records the children were released same day from the police station. “Wherever they had to be kept beyond one day, they were sent to juvenile homes”, observed the court.
Justice R. Subhash Reddy said it “surely” was “not detention” and that the word detention had been “used loosely” in the police reports annexed to the first report submitted in the matter.